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(UK) Suffolk: Council pays parents $43K to compensate for SPED failing

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Jan 18, 2022, BBC News: Suffolk families receive £32k [$43K]compensation over special needs failings

SE England A council has had to pay out more money following complaints about its special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services, it has emerged. Figures showed Suffolk County Council paid £32,048 [$43K] in financial remedies for 14 Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman cases from March to December. That was compared to £5,735 across five cases in 2020/21, and £13,000 in both of the two years before. The council said it was "undertaking a significant overhaul" of SEND services. The data was obtained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request lodged by the Campaign for Change (Suffolk SEND) group, a collective of 570 parents and carers who have lobbied for improvements in the service. It showed about two thirds of the financial costs were for a lack of provision or education, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. A further 20 cases were still with the ombudsman, the documents said. Suffolk SEND said: "These complaints are but the tip of an enormous iceberg of injustice. Only a few parents have the resources to push their complaints this far." It called for "drastic action" to be taken. The county council said the higher level of pay-outs reflected the greater demand for SEND places and increased number of complaints.... "That failure is evident with the number of historic complaints that are upheld by the ombudsman, but we are committed to improve the way we do things." The council formed an action plan to address concerns in the SEND services after a report by peers in Lincolnshire exposed a series of failings.


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